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#2965660 - 12/30/18 06:41 AM Ugly Amp noise, but from what?
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
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I got a brand-new Acoustic G20 Guitar Amp for a buddy just taking up the Electric Guitar. Nothing special, no FX. In the store, it was quiet, even with a Squier Strat plugged in, so I figured all good.

At his house, it put out a waterfall of noise, that was even worse with the Guitar jacked in. (It's not the Guitar, we've tried it with other Amps, no noise.) Turning the Volume knobs did nothing to change the sound, although scooping out the Mid-range cut it back a bit? We know it's not the Guitar, and it's not the cables. It's not the Speaker, as the same noise comes through the Headphone jack when you engage it. I tried moving the Amp around the house to different jacks, tried different power strips with RFI filtering, didn't matter, still heard the same thing.

If it were a Tube Amp, I'd look for a loose or blown Tube, but it's not. I've done every sort of A/B test I can think of, to narrow down the possible issues, and it seems like the problem is with the wiring in the house? My big worry is that it's a grounding issue, which could be dangerous, as well as noisy. Whatever it is, I've never run into anything quite like this before.
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#2965707 - 12/30/18 09:48 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11659
Loc: Northern California
@ Winston, I would take the amp to your house and see if the problem goes away like it did at the store. It could have a problem in the amp that didn't occur at the store until the amp was moved. If it works good back at the store or at your house, then you are probably right about the house wiring. In that case, your buddy can unplug the refrigerator, AC, lights, etc. at the breaker box. Everything but one circuit for the wall plug for the amp and try it again. If the noise is still there, it may be wise to have an electrician come out and have a look-see. I hope you find the problem and let us know if it was in the house wiring or in the amp? Good luck! cool
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#2965731 - 12/30/18 11:36 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Larryz]
Scott Fraser Offline
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Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 5261
Loc: Los Angeles
Bad grounding would manifest as hum, 60Hz with various additional harmonics depending on how funky the house wiring is. Is this a three prong AC plug into a three prong outlet, or are you using a ground lift to get into an ungrounded 2 prong outlet? A description of noise as a waterfall tells me this is more white noise than hum, & that sounds like a transistor gone bad. I'd plug it into various other outlets, in different houses, to see if it's really wiring related or intrinsic to the amp.
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#2965825 - 12/30/18 07:33 PM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Scott Fraser]
picker Offline
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Registered: 06/13/04
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Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
What they said. Sounds like dirty power to me.
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#2965862 - 12/31/18 04:19 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: picker]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 11292
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
"UGLY" Amp noise?

MINE was usually ME! roll
Whitefang
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#2965878 - 12/31/18 06:32 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Scott Fraser]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 3606
Loc: Inside the Beltway
@Larryz - Have already moved the Amp to another location, where we got no noise, so it's not something that happened in travel. Anywhere I plug it in at my friend's house, we hear the same noise.

@Scott - 3-prong plug into 3-prong jack; I NEVER use Ground Lift, especially if I'm suspicious of the circuitry. There are more fun ways to die. However, I do suspect that the house wiring is bad. FWIW, the Boss MFX isn't using a grounded plug, just a 1 Spot, and there's no noise coming through it.

My buddy is having an electrician over to check things out. In either case, I'm going to return the Amp, as he can't use it, the way things are right now.


Edited by Winston Psmith (12/31/18 06:38 AM)
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#2965883 - 12/31/18 06:46 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11659
Loc: Northern California
@ Winston, glad to hear it wasn't in the amp! Keep us posted on what the electrician finds as this is always an interesting subject for me...good luck to your bud and I hope it's something simple! cool
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#2965893 - 12/31/18 07:16 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Larryz]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 3606
Loc: Inside the Beltway
@Larryz - I used to do Construction/Renovation work, so I've done some basic wiring, but by no means do I consider myself an Electrician. I know enough to know when to back away from a problem I can't fix, which is a useful skill unto itself - keeps me alive, and it keeps me from creating more of a problem for someone else to fix.

There were a few things that made me wonder about the in-house wiring, once we'd plugged in the Amp, including a jack that looked as if it had been exposed to heat? Brittle, slightly warped plastic on the jack itself, not the jack plate; not a good sign, IME.

As I said, I'm going to take the Amp back, and keep looking for something else, maybe just a small MFX, as my buddy is mostly interested in playing through headphones, for now. (The G20 has a Headphone jack, too, part of why I got it.) He has a Coonhound mix who feels compelled to sing along whenever she hears the Guitar, and it would take a Marshall stack to drown out the howling. In the meantime, it'll be worthwhile to find out what's up with the wiring in his house.
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#2965899 - 12/31/18 07:29 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11659
Loc: Northern California
@ Winston, I can do a few simple things like change a light fixture, wall plug, circuit breaker, ceiling fan, swap out stove and ovens, dishwashers, etc. I used to fix electric hot water heaters too. I remember one time not being able to fix the hot water heater even though I had put all new parts in it? Turns out the power company needed to install a new transformer as they were not supplying enough power to the house...now getting that coon hound under control is going to take more than an electrician LOL! cool
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#2965903 - 12/31/18 07:43 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Larryz]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7294
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
You may've already made yer decision abt returning it (although from what you described it's more a location-specific prob) & there are better technical advisors here than me (BTW did ya check this w/Myles ? Is he still here ?).

The problem of phase polarity is familiar to most older club circuit players but I would mention that even new digital electronics from yer TV to yer pocket phone can sometimes suffer from proximity interference problems. idk
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#2965916 - 12/31/18 08:52 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: d]
Scott Fraser Offline
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Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 5261
Loc: Los Angeles
A cheap electrical outlet tester* can quickly identify a mis-wired circuit. You'd think any job done by a licensed electrician & approved by a city or county building inspector would be to code, but stuff gets past them. When I worked at a major performing arts center in LA we had major hum issues every time we brought in a rental monitor system. After years of issues we finally discovered that the hot & neutral legs were reversed on the AC circuits stage left. How does that stuff happen?

* https://www.homedepot.com/p/Power-Gear-3-Wire-Receptacle-Tester-50542/206212329?cm_mmc=Shopping%7CG%7CBase%7CD27E%7C27-11_TOOLS_%26_ACCESSORIES%7CNA%7CPLA%7C71700000034238984%7C58700003943782712%7C92700031954542185&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqfP2xsPK3wIVDMJkCh29gA-SEAQYASABEgIW3vD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
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#2965945 - 12/31/18 01:09 PM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Scott Fraser]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 3606
Loc: Inside the Beltway
@d - I used to work in nightclubs, and I remember noise coming off of ice machines, florescent lights, all kinds of equipment - this noise sounds a lot like that, just haven't been able to isolate any cause, so there's no point keeping the Amp. I'll just use the store credit towards something else, while they investigate.

@Scott - thanks for that link. For $5, I'll be picking up one of those this coming week . . . which is to say, sometime early next year.

If nothing else, we may have turned up an issue they were going to have to deal with at some point, and it's better to find out before someone gets hurt, or someone's phone or computer get fried.
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#2966084 - 01/01/19 01:28 PM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
I got a brand-new Acoustic G20 Guitar Amp...


Not to point out the obvious, but... isn't it under warranty? Take it back, get it repaired or (better yet) replaced... Do NOT void the warranty...
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#2966211 - 01/02/19 05:50 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 3606
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Caevan O'Shite
Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
I got a brand-new Acoustic G20 Guitar Amp...


Not to point out the obvious, but... isn't it under warranty? Take it back, get it repaired or (better yet) replaced... Do NOT void the warranty...


@Caevan - Big part of why I bought new was so there'd be no problem returning it. No intention of doing anything to screw with the Amp nor the warranty. Problem really seems to be the in-house wiring, not the Amp, but the Amp is still essentially useless in that situation. I'll trade it in on something else useful, and keep looking.
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#2966535 - 01/03/19 10:22 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Winston Psmith]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3222
Your friend's house probably needs to be grounded... or maybe just the feed wires checked coming into the house.

When I bought my house about 10 years ago there was a hurricane a few months later that sent tree limbs onto the wires (electrical, phone, cable TV) that came into the house. Had those fixed, but I didn't notice the wires that carry juice out to my music building in the backyard had one wire yanked... I tried to have a band practice and all sorts of noise and weirdness went on. Had an electrician in soon after that dealing with something else and had him check it out, he told me that building was ungrounded because of what had been disconnected and I was lucky we didn't fry our amps had there been a surge or something... and he also found that the main house, even though some work had been done right before we moved in to improve the grounding, had a problem in that the electricity was grounded to the copper pipes, but sections had been replaced over the years with PVC pipe in repairs, and that interrupted it. He installed a grounding rod in the back yard to solve that...

Which brings up my struggle to find a plumber I trusted... because the first thing everyone would say is "first off we need to bring your house up to code and get rid of these copper pipes and redo the whole thing in PVC," to which I'd say "F&^K YOU AND GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" Finally found the older brother of an old high school friend who insisted on replacing the PVC and stainless steel that was crapping out with copper, for a very reasonable price, bless him!!!!

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#2966538 - 01/03/19 10:37 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: p90jr]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7294
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Plumbing---possibly the only work that can't be out-sourced overseas & the one for which almost airbody will pay Briefcase, Suit & Tye $$$$$ in the middle of the night....
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#2966541 - 01/03/19 10:43 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: p90jr]
Scott Fraser Offline
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Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 5261
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: p90jr
Which brings up my struggle to find a plumber I trusted... because the first thing everyone would say is "first off we need to bring your house up to code and get rid of these copper pipes and redo the whole thing in PVC," to which I'd say "F&^K YOU AND GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" Finally found the older brother of an old high school friend who insisted on replacing the PVC and stainless steel that was crapping out with copper, for a very reasonable price, bless him!!!!


I bet those helpful fellows even offered to take that useless old copper off your hands. The legit plumbers are the ones taking out the galvanized pipe & replacing it with copper, which is more expensive, but lasts forever.
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#2966548 - 01/03/19 11:07 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Scott Fraser]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3222
Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
Originally Posted By: p90jr
Which brings up my struggle to find a plumber I trusted... because the first thing everyone would say is "first off we need to bring your house up to code and get rid of these copper pipes and redo the whole thing in PVC," to which I'd say "F&^K YOU AND GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" Finally found the older brother of an old high school friend who insisted on replacing the PVC and stainless steel that was crapping out with copper, for a very reasonable price, bless him!!!!


I bet those helpful fellows even offered to take that useless old copper off your hands. The legit plumbers are the ones taking out the galvanized pipe & replacing it with copper, which is more expensive, but lasts forever.


Yep... one even offered "to haul it off for a fee..." before I cursed him out.

It annoys my wife, but I'm at the point that anything that needs to be done, even if I can't do it myself, I spend days reading everything I can find about it before I call in anybody so I know exactly what is going on, because the workmen around here mostly have become scam artists... and the trustworthy ones seem to have much more work than they can handle.

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#2966571 - 01/03/19 12:56 PM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: p90jr]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 3606
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Gratefully, we have good plumbers, two brothers who learned the trade from their father. If they retire, then IDK?

Back to the Amp: I returned the G20, and picked up a little (really little) Orange Mini-Crush, and a 1 Spot for when the original batteries give out. Took the new mini-rig to my friend's house, plugged in, and all was well. Of course, the 1 Spot is an ungrounded plug, so that question is still open, but at least he has a working Amp with a Headphone Out and and Aux In, which is what he needed.

FWIW, as much as people like to complain about GC, the folks at the local branch have been very helpful, and I've gotten some good deals there since it opened.
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#2966757 - 01/04/19 11:28 AM Re: Ugly Amp noise, but from what? [Re: Winston Psmith]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
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Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
As corporate stores have become more common & smaller shops less so, the corporate stores become the defacto regular shop for their repeat customers.
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